What has been reinforced over the week I've spent at home is that I am not superwoman and I am not ready to leave my safe places yet.
I feel such an incredible amount of pressure - from where I don't know, from everywhere, from inside my head, who knows - to try and speed up this process and get going. I feel like I need to get back to work, but I'm not sure another week will be enough time to get me ready (or if I'll ever be ready to go back). I feel like I need to hurry up and be a more fully functioning human.
And I've learned I am not ready yet. It actually makes me a little angry.
Yesterday was a bad day at home. By evening, everything was better and both my mother and I sent silent messages of love and apology and we're ok.
Today was a bad day outside the home. The short version is that I needed to go to the mall. Because there is a ring I want to buy. I've already bought a ring with a peridot, which is the birthstone for August. And I want to buy this ring, and have Gabriel's name and birth and death date engraved on it. And then I've always got something to wear, right? It's a small thing and a first step, but something I wanted to do. The problem is that while I can order it online (easier), I didn't know what size I needed. So I had to go to the store. Joy. That was at the mall. While there are several locations in Houston, the only near us was the mall we went to two weeks ago to buy Gabriel clothes he will never wear. I am nowhere near ready to go back there.
But there is one near my mom's house, so we went there.
And . . . I might as well have gone to the one at home. Because it was an exercise in how to not attract attention while you sob helplessly into your husband's shoulder. I cried in the car. I barely made it out of the store without sobbing (and God Bless that very kind saleslady who made no commission and was gentle and sweet), and I didn't make it through lunch. While I recovered in a bookstore (I guess there is still one place on earth I can feel a modicum of peace for a short time at least), DH went to a toystore. He's always on the lookout for what I refer to as his dolls - various action figures he collects. He came back and found me in line at the bookstore, pale, shaky, sweaty and tearful.
What a terrible afternoon for both of us.
I thought if I could get out there a bit, I might become more immune to the cry of a child or the sight of a baby and the shell would harden some. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I'm just so tired of feeling isolated and damaged; I know that won't change anytime soon. In fact, there will always be a scar or 'limp' if I ever do heal. I just . . . I'm tired of sadness and grief, and find no escape from either. And then I feel guilty for wanting it.